Effective networking is a lot like matchmaking. As you are out and about meeting people, always be thinking about who they should know. By taking a sincere interest in people and learning what kind of work they do, you will be able to refer people and resources to them. You can always tell when you’re dealing with a good networker when they say, “You know, I need to introduce you to so and so.” That differentiates them from a lot of people right there but the great networkers take it one more step. They actually facilitate the introduction.
Anyone can say that I need to introduce you to so and so, but the pros actually do it. This may sound shocking, but so does the fact that people do things that they know are bad for them. We all do this in different areas of our lives. We’re all hypocrites in some way. If you’re not, let’s get your name to the Vatican for instant sainthood. The bottom line is that “To know and not to do, is really not to know.”
When I facilitate a connection by email I use a basic template. I modify it to suit the particular situation, but I’ve found over time that the basic format works really well for most occasions. Here’s what I often use:
“Linda and Fred,
You're both friends of mine who I think should meet each other.
Recently, I spoke with you, Linda, about __________.
Fred is a good friend of mine and is also a tremendous ______________ professional. He doesn't have any tape on his glasses, has no pocket protector and can spell P&L. He's got both sides of his brain working very well. (Let's talk about him like he's not reading this)
I think you'll see a lot of value in having a conversation with him about __________. Fred doesn't put round pegs in square holes and truly takes a sincere interest in helping people. If he can't help you, he'll steer you to someone who can.
Linda Smith's contact info (name, title, company, email, phone, website)
Fred Jones' contact info (name, title, company, email, phone, website)
This is about both of you so I'll step back from the conversation at this point unless you have something that you'd like to discuss with me.
Eager to serve you, Kev”
Facilitate introductions and expect nothing in return. Do it because it’s the right thing to do and because what we give comes back to us. If you’re making introductions because you think that people will now owe you, it will backfire in your face. That’s a transaction, not a relationship. The irony is that when we pay it forward and spread the love with no expectation of reward, it often shows up. And it often shows up in unexpected places. What goes around comes around. Develop the reputation as someone who is a great networker and business matchmaker and people will beat a path to your door. It’s always about relationships.
Good stuff Kevin! I like the last part about it being a relationship and NOT a transaction.
Hey Kevin, Interesting blog. I have actually received a few such introductions, however, without the funny details and w/o phones, only e-mails. The into was, ____ meet ____, she does _____ and you two should hook up. The first time I shot the person an e-mail; no response, then I looked up their website and phone number and called, no return call. I wasn't so excited with the introduction via e-mail to begin with. E- mail is so easy to ignore….I'm not sold on this type of introductions–I think there has to be strong under lying relationships on both ends for it to be effective.
Thanks for your comments! A bland, vanilla introduction usually receives a bland, vanilla response. I put my personality into everything (please see a previous blog post called “Make It Personal”) and find that people enjoy that. I agree with you that relationships are the key to making good introductions. That means that we should always be seeking to build and enhance relationships, yes?
Thanks, Hunter. Yes, big difference between transactions and relationships, huh?
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Thanks for your kind words. Looking forward to seeing you again!
I am not the sort to take the time placing comments on peoples’ weblogs generally however right after stumbling across yours I figured I might shoot a quick note to give me a short break from working. I must admit that I have gotten somewhat sidetracked going through and browsing some of your posts… I should probably be working. Terrific stuff here and I will be around again in the future to read more. Enjoy the week!
Thank you very much for your very kind comments! I really appreciate it.
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I’m glad to hear that it was helpful! Best of luck in college!
I am glad that you said this!!!
Not sure I comprehend everything, but good job anyway.
Great post! Maybe you could do a follow up to this topic!
Thank you for your kind comment. Please let me know if there is something specific you’d like for me to write about.
Thank you for your kind comment. Please let me know what you need help understanding.
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Thanks for your kind comment!